Craving a Better Balance


Lately I’ve been thinking about how much I’m on the computer. The internet more specifically. I was away for a week recently and while I had my phone, I didn’t use a computer the entire time. I felt different. More relaxed, less anxious.

I’m on the computer a lot, every day. The first thing I do when I wake up is check my email. I use the computer at work all day and then in the evening spend time working on website related stuff, checking in on Facebook and checking my email. I’ve played around with setting up boundaries for myself around my internet use. For instance, I’ve been trying to tell myself that I won’t check my email or social media after 7:30 p.m. in order to give myself a better balance. The evenings that I successfully stay off the web I find that it’s easier for me to go to sleep and I wake up less anxious the next morning.

But more often than not, I still find myself checking my phone at night to see if I have any emails. I say to myself that someone might NEED something from me! What if one of my writers needs help with their post? What if someone needs me for something immediate? I know those aren’t rational thoughts. The reality is that even if someone does need me for something, there’s nothing wrong with waiting till the next day to get back to them. But that what if mentality is hard for me to overcome. And it causes me a lot of anxiety. Maybe I struggle with this because I also struggle with a life-long case of perfectionism. Maybe to me, part of being a perfect person is getting back to people ASAP.

Another component of this that’s been on my mind is that I think I’ve kind of replaced real, in-person relationship with virtual ones. Not that virtual friendship are bad, not at all. But I feel like I’m missing that real connection with people sometimes. The other day I had lunch with a friend that I haven’t seen in months and it was so wonderful! It was refreshing to see her face-to-face. To have our conversation flow naturally, unedited. To feel more connected to her than when we catch up online.

I’m not a phone talker, I just don’t like it. I tend to rely on texting & Facebook to communicate with my friends but in doing so I think I’m missing something. Since becoming a mom my natural tendency to want to stay home in my PJs has only gotten stronger (I’m definitely an introvert) and I haven’t made seeing my friends in person a big priority. I’ve used the internet as a crutch in maintaining my relationships because it seems easier and also because I haven’t liked not being home when my daughter goes to sleep (if I were to go out in the evening).

But I need to find a better balance for myself. My internet related anxiety is a problem – that feeling of I MUST check my email 50 times a day because WHAT IF SOMEONE NEEDS ME is something I really need to work on. And I really do want to feel more connected to people and foster my real life relationships a bit better.

In a day and age where the internet is literally at our fingertips whenever we want it, it can be hard to remember that life on the internet isn’t real life. It’s part of life, yes. But life is really about so much more.

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Photo: Me running in the woods – one of the few places that really helps me feel recharged.

8 comments on “Craving a Better Balance”

  1. Oh, I’m not a phone person either! I smiled when I read that! Love that pic of you running in the woods! Balance is a good thing, so glad you are finding it. Love you!

  2. I also feel I have just too many accounts to check and attempt to keep up with and sometimes forget the value. Usually that’s when I need a break. Yet ironically, in my family it’s not uncommon for me to be unplugged as I look around at my “kindle family.” You’re right, it’s about balance, and if it feels out of whack, it likely is. Luckily, we can change it. Good luck!

  3. I’m guilty of this often too. Especially because I’m at my computer all day at work. I have found a few things that have helped. I leave my phone in my bag when I get home from work for as long as I can. If it’s easily accessible it ends up in my hands. I am pretty good about not having it around while I’m with the kids and Sean and I both put our phones away after bedtime to hang with each other uninterrupted. Of course I go back and check it before I go to sleep. What is so important?!!! I’m going to try actually turning the phone off at night to see if that makes a difference. Maybe I’ll get brave enough to turn it off when I get home from work!

  4. Oh Michelle, how did you know I needed to read this today? I am SUPER guilty of looking at my phone constantly, so much that when I’m playing with my boys and Jack hears a text come in, he’ll actually stop and say “Mommy, your phone.” Ughh….pathetic.

  5. Michelle, you’ve hit the nail on the head for so many of us! I too feel a lot of anxiety around being “on” electronically so much of the time. It’s become way too easy to feel like we’re connected to others emotionally via electronic means but, we all know that we really aren’t at all. I don’t know if the balance thing is something I’ll ever be able to achieve but I do know that I value and crave my friendships and emotional connections immensely and you’ve given me pause today. Thank you!

  6. agreed! I feel like I HAVE to be in the know all the time with this phone biz. I have cut down on my pre-bed facebooking, and that has helped tremendously! And, a good run is always a great option!

  7. OMG, I am so there with you. Every day I vow I will cut back and then I just don’t. There is just too much wonderful content out there to read and learn. It’s affecting my sleep and I am disappointed in myself DAILY for not doing other things with my time (although running in the woods is NEVER going to happen, unless a bear chases me from the mall parking lot into the woods). I don’t bring the phone upstairs when I go to sleep at night (although I do when I’m merely napping), so that’s something, I guess, but I want to get it under control. If you figure out how to do it, please let me know.

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